The Wooden Boats of Betina

Driving up the coastal road from Split, through Trogir and on to Primosten and Šibenik, the sea views on this perfect autumn day were spectacular. Driving at a leisurely pace was so enjoyable with Dalmatian music on the Radio blending in with the enviroment beautifully. The turn off to Island Murter is well signposted and after crossing the bridge from the mainland it’s a short 8km drive to the village of Tisno and then on to Betina at the northern end of the island. a 1.5 hour drive in all from Split.

Arriving into Betina was really delightful..The summer visitors had departed, the village was quiet, the stone and terracotta roofs against the bluest sea, gulls circling, but then again it was 12 noon and on a Sunday that means the traditional home-cooked Sunday lunch is being prepared and family gatherings are the norm in this part of the world..hence the quiet cafes.

It was the famous vintage wooden boats of Betina that I had come to see and there before me in the little harbour they were moored side by side, mostly dating back 100 years, yet beautifully maintained by their owners, many of whom are today sons and grandsons of the original ‘boatie’ owners.

The recently opened Museum of Wooden Boats is near the little harbour. Museum Website: http://mbdb.hr/en/museum-of-betina-wooden-shipbuilding/

My friend Adria Juros From Australia and her husband Željko are here in Betina at the moment and have completed the restoration of the Juros Family stone house in the harbour.

Adria’s comments below touched me deeply, her love of family is very obvious….

“As I sit here on the balcony of the Juros house, watching this beautiful sleepy fishing village wake up, I’d like to wish my mother-in-law the happiest of birthdays today. Her greatest gift having all 4 of her children together again after 12 years. I cannot begin to imagine how that must be as I am only apart from my girls 3 weeks and my boy 8 weeks and missing them so much. In June I spent 3 weeks getting to know her on a much deeper level and am amazed at her resilience as a young widow raising her children at the time which included 6-year-old twins. I loved hearing stories of her youth, her married life in South America and the house where I sit this morning. All possible because of her sacrifice, which ultimately became her greatest gift to me – her son, so that we could begin our own family. I absolutely loved the project of restoring this house entrusted to me by this family, and whilst yes, it is a legacy to our own children, I hope I have been able to honour the strong warrior women who were born or lived in this house. Sinka, Kosovka, Dragica, Silvija and Marina. Sretan rođendan Dragica 🌷(Happy Birthday Dragica!)

 Robyn Vulinovich 22/10/19